Publish Novellas 9 May 2021
EPISODE 2 – DISORIENTATION
Caroline and Jayson win a Fijian resort vacation. After their flight, they awaken in bed with handcuffs, within a dilapidated cabin.
Dazed and Confused
The hours here are a day and a half ahead of Pacific Time. So, with traveling, it is now Monday morning.
“My wristwatch and cellphone are gone!” Jayson shouts. “They must have spiked our drinks.” With the implication of possible molestation, Jayson continues softly, “Are you… okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine, I think…” Caroline begins pressing her abdomen to see if there is any bruising. “Except for these handcuffs… and the shackles on our ankles,” Caroline replies in despair while looking around the four walls with one door.
In place of their suitcases, there is a small pouch of toiletries on their nightstands. Jayson reaches for a note next to his toiletries.
“What does it say?” Caroline asks eagerly. “Is this some type of joke?”
“It says, ‘When you’re ready, stand at the door and tap three times.’”
“Ready for… what?” Caroline shrieks with irritation.
“I’m not sure, but we will soon find out.” As Jayson stands and begins shuffling toward the door, Caroline rises to join him. Then he taps three times. A deep voice from the other side says, “Grab your toiletries.”
Caroline and Jayson shuffle back to collect them and tap on the door again.
There is a pause before the door unlocks and opens just enough for Jayson to force it open wider with his shoulder.
The bright sunlight burns their dilated pupils. When they adjust to the light, a brawny man in ankle shackles wearing an eye patch without handcuffs becomes visible.
“What’s going on? I demand answers!” Jayson shouts.
“Just stay quiet and cooperate. It’s time for orientation. Follow me,” says the patched escort.
“Who are you? Where are we going? Caroline replies.
“We are American citizens. We have rights,” Jayson interjects.
“When can we go to the bathroom? Is someone going to feed us?” Caroline asks.
“Shhhhhush,” their escort softly replies, as he continues shuffling down a narrow unpaved road through dense brush and leaves.
Stop, Look, Listen
The three of them finally arrive at a clearing. There are two women dressed like possible housekeepers without shackles. A well-dressed man is standing on a platform with a private security guard at his side.
The patched escort turns to Jayson and Caroline with his index finger pressed to his lips as the man on the platform begins speaking.
“My name is Dr. Toussaint. We have some new arrivals. I’m sure Jayson and Caroline have many questions. Before enjoying your breakfast, I want to share some adjustments to their itinerary.
“Welcome to ‘Fiji.’ My associates will try to make your stay as comfortable as possible. By being cooperative, you earn the reward of less restraints.
“Don’t try to escape. The perimeter is heavily reinforced and the indigenous people will kill you in the dense forest with no remorse or prosecution. You may hear the sound of airplanes in the distance. They are not here to rescue you.
“The five of you have chores. We must keep this ‘resort’ tidy for the visitors we entertain. If you become a problem, Leonid, my chief of security, will make you wish you were on the other side of the perimeter fence with the natives.
“You share a common outdoor toilet. When instructed, take your toiletries in. When you exit, each item should be visible through the clear pouch. You can fasten it to a belt loop on your trousers. Do you understand?”
In unison, the two housekeepers and patched escort shout, “Sir yes, Dr. Toussaint, sir!”
“I didn’t hear from our new guests,” says Dr. Toussaint in a threatening tone.
“Yes, Dr. Toussaint,” they reply reluctantly.
“The others will help you work on your response,” the doctor insists. Referring to the patched escort, Dr. Toussaint instructs. “Brian will now lead our guests to the toilet facilities before breakfast. Dismissed.”
Again, in unison, “Sir yes, Dr. Toussaint, sir!”
Brian is currently the one-eyed captive…
As before, Jayson and Caroline follow Brian through the brush, this time to a primitive outhouse. Caroline enters first, while Brian stands outside the door. There is no sink or shower. Just a toilet and a hazy mirror covered with Plexiglass to prevent breakage.
Caroline complains, “This is the size of an airplane restroom, with even less amenities. How do I clean myself up in here?”
Brian shouts to her from outside the door. “Use the flushable towelettes in the pouch. You must earn the privilege for a bath in a nearby spring.” When Caroline exits, Brian checks her pouch before admitting Jayson.
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“Did you think I was going to steal something from the outhouse?” Caroline asks rhetorically.
When Jayson is done, he asks, “So what’s our assignment?”
Brian replies, “You get to clean the outhouse and disinfect the septic tank.”
“You seem like one of us. Why are you working for these people. I don’t get it. Together, we should be able to overpower them, get off of Fiji, and back to Hawaii,” Jayson tries to reason.
“Nothing good comes from talk like that.” Brian reveals softly to Jayson, “And we are not in Fiji. Let’s go eat.”
“Wait! What… not in Fiji?” Jayson asks. But there is no elaboration from Brian.
Caroline nervously interjects from a distance, “I hope we don’t get drugged at breakfast.”
“The food is safe. Dr. Toussaint wants everyone to be healthy. Any sign of sickness and you become expendable.” These are Brian’s last words as he heads towards the bizarre sound of drums and organ music.